Treat yourself to a few nights out

Native oysters in Kilcolgan.

Native oysters in Kilcolgan.

I am sure many of you are sick to the teeth of the never ending doom and gloom that pervades our every working hour. On a positive note it would appear that we are saving like never before and, while I do realise there are some who are put to the pin of their collar to make ends meet, many are stashing away a few bob for whatever may lie ahead. We all need a boost every so often, so what I am suggesting is that you earmark some of the saving for eating out.

The month of November is traditionally a month where not much happens, and I would like to make a few suggestions. Arrange a really special night out for yourself and a significant other at your favourite restaurant or that place you keep meaning to visit. Arrange a group night out with some neighbours or friends, with a stipulation that nobody mentions the word recession. When planning a group night set the budget beforehand and stick to it, that way everyone will be happy. For that special night out, just go for it, order a good bottle of wine and have a ball. Lastly, most of us have a few people we keep meaning to have around for dinner, however the day to day pressures of living in 2010 make that difficult, so solve the problem by bringing them out to dinner.

There are several reasons I am making these suggestions. Firstly when you eat out you are supporting what is in essence a mini factory. Restaurants buy from local producers, farmers, butchers, laundries, window cleaners, fishermen, shops, painters, and decorators. The list is endless, they add value to the raw materials and you consume it. They employ professionals, apprentices, unskilled, and students supporting themselves through college. They pay rates, electricity, gas, insurance, waste charges, the dreaded rent, and much more, all of which oils the wheels of our own local economy. My second reason for suggesting you eat out more is to cheer everyone up.

We have never had more choice of places to eat out in Galway and at every level of budget. Midweek will always get you the best deal but I realise that does not easily fit in with most family schedules. If you decide on a Saturday night, it is really a necessity to book. My preference at the weekend is for a Friday night as you will usually get better service and many of the early bird and set menu prices are available. There are several top places in Galway serving a really good three course meal for €25, and if you think back two years ago many main courses were costing the same. There are of course better deals also, but to be able to eat at some of our best places for that kind of price is indicative of the fact that competition and the recession has brought prices to a very attractive level. Right now the quality has never been better and prices have never been lower.

Planning for Christmas

There are a couple of pre-Christmas events that I think are really worth putting into your calendar.

McCambridges’ Food and Wine Fair is in its seventh year, and if you have not been to it you are missing a great evening. It will be held in The Ardilaun on Thursday November 25 from 5pm to 9pm and is quite a big event. Lots of producers are there and they do not stint on samples. Cost of entry is €15 and all the proceeds to go the local schools and Grá, the local charity for families of children with autism. Some of the producers you will see are Burren Smokehouse, McGeoghs of Oughterard, Galway Cupcakes, Builin Blasta, Butler’s Chocolates, Le Petit Delice, The Friendly Farmer, Killeen Cheese, and several wine companies.

Woodberry’s Christmas Fair: This is a great wine fair and one where you will probably need a designated driver to look after getting you home safely. The range of wines available to taste is excellent and the knowledge and enthusiasm of Declan and Sandra and the team is infectious. It will take place on Sunday November 28 in the g Hotel from 2pm to 7pm. Tickets are €10 with all proceeds going to charity. My personal recommendation is to make an afternoon of it, start off with sampling the whites and retire to the main hotel area and have afternoon tea or a coffee and scone. Read a paper and then go back and work your way though the reds.

There is an interesting retro meal offer at the White Gables in Moycullen on Thursday nights in November. Hors d’oeurves followed by cream of lettuce soup or consommé, followed by lobster thermidor or beef Wellington and fresh fruit pavlova for €45 per person.

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